Thursday, 21 October 2021

Zagreb Magic Omens Claims to be Most Modernly Equipped Game Room in Croatia

October the 21st, 2021 - Denis Devcic and Ivan Kosovec, two friends who opened the Zagreb Magic Omens facility just a few days ago claim that theirs is the most modernly equipped game room in all of Croatia.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Lucija Spiljak writes, the pair claim that if you're a fan of card of board games, then you'll likely find a great friend in both of them and in their latest venture. In this way, they say, they have fulfilled a long-standing desire to open a space where people can socialise, meet up and play their favourite games.

Devcic and Kosovec have been friends since back in 2018, when they met on the way to the Magic the Gathering tournament in neighbouring Italy. Three years later, they decided to leave their jobs in the very well known Croatian IT companies Infinum and Degordian and head out into the often challenging entrepreneurial waters together; first in the eCommerce world, then in a small physical store, and now they have opened the so-called “LGS” Local Game Store.

As they explain, LGS is a hobby store concept where all fans of board games and card games (so-called TCG-s, ie Trading Card Games) can buy their desired products, and in the store's game room, they can meet like-minded people, try out some new games or participate in tournaments.

“My childhood dream was to own my very own Local Game Store. I started Trading Card Games at the beginning of the millennium and this hobby has since become a very important part of my life. I grew up with Pokemon and Magic the Gathering and now with Magic Omens I'm ready to welcome a new generation of players and build a healthy community of people who share a passion for this hobby,'' said Ivan Kosovec.

In their game room, located on Savska cesta 144A, weekly events for all of people's favourite games will be held, as well as events from the most popular TCGs such as Magic the Gathering cards, Flesh and Blood, Pokemon cards and many other similar games.

Even when there are no organised tournaments, all enthusiasts can come enjoy their favourite games throughout the week at the new Zagreb Magic Omens location.

Devcic and Kosovec claim that due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the demand for social and card games has increased, especially when it comes to the much loved Pokemon TCG. More than 30 billion Pokemon tickets have been sold worldwide so far, the game Magic the Gathering had a profit of 581.2 million US dollars last year, and all this has led to the organisation of tournaments that bring together enthusiasts from all over the world.

In these results, Devcic and Kosovec saw the need to create such a community right here at home in Croatia through a proper space intended just for games. They've invested, they say, their own personal savings and countless hours of work. They will expand the offer of games over time, and they say that they also do well in retail, given the large offer of games that they deliver throughout the European Union (EU).

These young enthusiasts say they first want to build a foundation in the City of Zagreb as the best choice for board and card games, become a regional leader and an example to others, have clear results and make sure the community is satisfied.

"Our goal is to increase the overall community of people who play board and card games, people who could play them, but have never decided on such a hobby. We want as many people as possible to experience this type of entertainment which, in addition to being challenging, enables people to spend more quality time with friends.

After the opening of the Zagreb Magic Omens location, we expect more customers/visitors/players to come because we're in the centre, but also because we have tournaments and game rooms. People are already delighted and the attendance level is very high because people recommend each other. Word-of-mouth seems to do its thing. We have very strong community support in this initiative and we've heard a lot of praise from some longtime players.

We're focused on customers and we listen to what they need and we want to make it all possible for them. The interest is just incredibly high and we’re sure it’s only going to grow because we really care about all the players. I believe that we can do wonderful things in Croatia,'' concluded Denis Devcic.

For more, check out Made in Croatia.

Wednesday, 20 October 2021

97% of Croatian eWyse E-Learning Company's Revenue Comes from Abroad

October the 20th, 2021 - The Croatian eWyse e-learning company has been doing excellently, with a massive 97 percent of its revenue being earned on foreign markets.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Lucija Spiljak writes, Martina Osmak, the operations director of the Croatian eWyse e-learning company explained that up until fairly recently, digital learning was considered for use only for occupational training and the like, but people are becoming more and more aware of the need for this form of training for new employees, the transfer of knowledge about products and/or services, and even for the purpose of making sales (in the sense of educating customers).

For the second time, the Croatian eWyse e-learning company has been placed on the list of the best companies in the world for the development of digital learning content for 2022. They have been recognised as one of the best providers of customised content for e-learning, which is just one in a series of worldwide accolades over the past four years.

The company was founded 12 years ago

The company was founded back in 2009 by Mario Buljan, who at the time worked as a business coach with clients from all over the Republic of Croatia. Until 2015, the company dealt exclusively with the training of its working team, but Buljan then noticed that the world of education was moving in a much more digital direction.

The main activity of the company today is the production of e-learning content (digital education) and the development of courses for major global brands, and they're distinguished from the competition by their different sort of approach, claims Martina Osmak.

“We put a lot of effort into the very presentation of our content - through trends such as storytelling, gamification, game-based learning, including the use of animation, multimedia and professional narrators with acting experience, we create content that is both interesting and instructive and achieves its goal, which is knowledge transfer.

In addition to the courses themselves, we also work on the platforms on which these courses are located (learning management system), we produce various educational and marketing videos and animations, we make accompanying educational materials (workbooks, brochures, etc.), we develop strategies for the client (an application of blended learning - part live, part digital), and more or less everything that has to do with education.

Almost all of our clients start with onboarding as the first topic. This topic is particularly important in industries where there is a constant large influx of new employees (eg the hotel and hospitality and catering industries). Then comes a wide range of various other topics such as product knowledge, legal issues, compliance and more,'' says Osmak, who notes that the demand for digital education is growing among Croatian companies.

It is interesting, she says, that they first broke through and proved themselves in the world, and only now is it Croatia's turn. Owing to that fact, more than 97 percent of their revenue comes from abroad, and only about three percent from here on the domestic market.

"We're very glad that we've positioned ourselves so well out there on the foreign market because it gives us financial security, and at the same time it's a confirmation of our quality, because the competition abroad is huge. Despite this, we'd certainly like to increase the number of clients here on the domestic market. After all of our successful projects for foreign clients, we know that we can give world quality through out company. We're just starting a project with a client from Washington whose goal is to help young people from vulnerable groups (poverty, discrimination, family issues) to choose the path of education and to direct them in time in a good way, so as not to end up in correctional facilities or prison. It isn't a small thing to work on a project that aims to save lives and that's why we're all really delighted with this,'' said the Croatian eWyse e-learning company's chief operating officer.

Among the more interesting and award-winning projects of this company is Revival, which entered the global Adobe competition where they won third place in a competition of about 50 other projects worldwide. The project is cooperation between Croatia and Italy, and is sponsored by the European Union.

"The desire is to revitalise, that is, to revive old and forgotten buildings that were previously important to their communities. That’s why we opted for 360 access (virtual reality) to allow people to ''walk'' virtually through these old and abandoned buildings. In addition, we're pleased that we really cover all industries, and soon all continents of the world. Our projects are from the fields of finance, hotel industry, religion, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, the fashion industry, production facilities,'' stated Osmak.

For more, make sure to check out Made in Croatia.

Sunday, 17 October 2021

Croatian Memgraph Company Celebrates Expansion and Investment

October the 17th, 2021 - The Croatian Memgraph company has been going from strength to strength of late, and further expansion as well as investments are currently being celebrated by this successful domestic company which hasn't even been on the scene for that long.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Ivan Tominac writes, as recently as last week, the successful Croatian Memgraph startup announced an investment of 9.34 million US dollars.

The fact that investments accelerate various processes in business ventures isn't something new, so the Croatian Memgraph startup is planning some new moves that will further strengthen their already impressive market position. As they pointed out from the company at the very beginning, the process of finding an investment was long and challenging, but in the end - it was successful.

The situation with the coronavirus pandemic didn't succeed in demotivating them either, so they, led by a strong desire for progress, managed to find some kind of partners on the path to building success.

“The process of finding investment and new investors has been long and challenging, especially throughout the challenging coronavirus crisis and the uncertainty that came with it. Yet, in M12, Heavybit, IQT and other new investors joining us, we've found some ideal partners who are excited about the development of Memgraph, the opportunities we provide and the direction we're heading in. This investment will enable further product development and see us strengthen and expand our team,'' said Memgraph's Dominik Tomicevic.

When it comes to their technology, the Croatian Memgraph company has so far helped thousands of developers and engineers and brought them closer to the world of graph theory and provided insight into data they didn't have before.

"In addition to individual engineers, Memgraph also works with some of the world's leading production companies in the field of chemistry, as well as the world's leading financial institutions," added Tomicevic. The powerful analytical capabilities brought by data flows and graphs before the arrival of Memgraph were reserved for a group of “big tech” companies, and with Memgraph, everyone else can have their fair share of that formerly rather exclusive pie.

This technology is of strategic importance for a group of technology companies called FAANG - Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google, but also for companies like LSI Chemical. It is a global leader in the chemical research and development industry, and Memgraph has enabled them to improve their production systems.

“Memgraph has enabled us to create powerful models of entire production systems using a database graph, which has been a major business innovation for us. Memgraph's graphical analysis has enabled us to better understand our own processes, optimise them and make the right decisions to provide the best possible service for our customers,'' said Tobias Merz, the director of Global Operating Technologies at LSI. The aforementioned investment will also work to shake the status quo significantly, and will lead to yet more development for Memgraph.

Memgraph 2.0 primarily brings new data entry capabilities through data flow technologies (e.g. Apache Kafka), all this is on top of the static data that has so far been possible to enter (CSV files and so on).

“As a result, engineers will now be able to build their applications and have data flows as a basis. In addition to that, Memgraph 2.0 is so-called source available, which means that the Memgraph Community Edition is available with a BSL license, which means that the code is open for personal and commercial use,'' explained Tomicevic.

It doesn't need to be stated that investments naturally lead to new business steps and more development, which most often results in further employment and as such a stronger economy. These are the steps Memgraph is taking as well.

''The goal of this round of funding is to expand and further strengthen our team. Although we employ people throughout Europe and have engineers from Greece to the Netherlands, the main engineering hub will remain right here in Croatia. Given the high priority of Cloud product development, that's where we'll employ primarily Frontend (Angular) and Backend (NodeJS) engineers who want to join a smaller but agile and fast team and launch Memgraph into the Cloud. We're also going to hire C / C ++ engineers for our core team working on core technology and products,'' said the Croatian Memgraph's director.

Graphs can do a lot more than we can imagine, and Memgraph decided to prove it, as this company's main goal is to change the way some of the world’s most difficult problems are solved using the power of graph theory. Therefore, as Memgraph's director Tomicevic concluded, their plans are to provide development engineers with access to tools and knowledge of graphs to improve their applications and business processes on the whole.

For more, check out Made in Croatia.

Sunday, 17 October 2021

Croatian Rasco's Lynx Charge e-Cleaner Hopes to Conquer Global Market

October the 17th, 2021 - The Croatian Rasco company is well known for its e-cleaners, primarily the Lynx system about which quite a lot has been written. They now hope to step out and conquer the demanding global market with their products.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, after presenting their innovative self-propelled cleaner (Lynx) two years ago, the Croatian Rasco company from Kalinovac near Djurdjevac recently presented the electric version of this utility cleaner under the brand Lynx Charge.

As explained by Ivan Franicevic, President of the Management Board of the Croatian Rasco company, the Lynx project was designed back in 2016, its realisation started a year later, and in the beginning it was developed through a diesel and electric variant.

"Lynx Charge has almost all the systems that an electric car boasts, which makes it an extremely complex product, and this is reflected in its price, which is twice as high as in the diesel version - standing at about 200 thousand euros. We worked on its development for three years and together with the diesel version, it's the crown of this company's 30 years of work.

This piece of Croatian innovation was made in cooperation with Rasco and the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing in Zagreb. We'll offer it through our distribution network to more than forty markets around the world, but we'd be glad if the advantages of such an ecological vehicle are recognised by the Croatian communal services here at home,'' said Franicevic.

The innovation was co-financed with funds from the European Regional Development Fund in the amount of 14 million kuna, and they expect even more from the electric version as the market for eco-friendly vehicles continues to grow far more rapidly than is the case for those powered by fossil fuels.

Franicevic pointed out that currently, the demand for these types of vehicles, powered by all types of fuel, globally stands at about 2,000 units per year, and next year at least 30 percent of this figure is expected to be related to electric vehicles.

"There are already countries like the Netherlands and Denmark that have banned the procurement of fossil fuel-powered utilities, and this trend will only spread. As the Croatian Rasco company is one of the leaders in this type of technology, we expect to occupy about 20 percent of that market in the coming period. Although it's difficult to talk about some exact capacities now, because that's something which is likely to adjust through the investment cycle of demand, we'd be satisfied if we could deliver 100 vehicles a year in the coming years,'' Franicevic said, adding that they expect to deliver about 60 of their Lynxes this year.

The 72.5 kWh electric Lynx battery allows the user to work throughout their shift without the need for recharging. In particular, the vehicle has an autonomy of 6.5 to 7.5 hours of operation, and charging takes a mere 2-3 hours on any charger.

The sweeper is powered by an electric motor with a maximum power of 55 kW, and the two other electric motors with a power of 18.5 and 11.5 kW are used to drive the intake system and various other vehicle functions. All of this is integrated into a compact vehicle which is 4.5 metres long and only 1.3 metres wide, and the vehicle alone weighs just over four tonnes.

According to the manufacturer's own assessment, and based on customer experience and tests, the depreciation period for the diesel version of the Lynx is 3-4 years, and the electric version is 7-10 years. The life expectancy of the Lynx Charge is 10 years, and in this Kalinovac-based company, they already have projects for the repurchase and recycling of used Lynx Charge vehicles and their batteries.

The Croatian Rasco company has stated that they've already started out with the development of an even more sophisticated, and somewhat larger, vehicle for the same purpose, which will also be developed on several platforms - primarily using diesel, but at the same time in an electric version and a hydrogen version.

The company didn't want to speculate about the specific deadlines when these vehicles, especially the hydrogen ones, should see the light of day. Rasco manufactures about 80 different products for the winter and summer maintenance of all types of transport infrastructure - from motorways, through to expressways and urban areas to forest roads and watercourses.

Their plants in Kalinovac and in Senta in Vojvodina employ more than 400 people, and at the local level, they want to be one of the drivers of the development of northwestern Croatia, and on the other hand, their goal is to become the largest manufacturer of municipal equipment in all of Europe.

For more, check out our business section.

Saturday, 16 October 2021

Croatian Modepack's Products Being Used by Massive Global Names

October the 16th, 2021 - The Croatian Modepack company's products are being purchased and used by some of the world's giants, including the likes of Amazon, Adidas and DHL.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, the growth of e-commerce over recent years hasn't particularly surprised anyone, but there are almost no analysts or companies operating in this sector who could have predicted the sheer volume of growth in this segment of trade due to the global COVID-19 pandemic and the speed of change in the entire sales and delivery chain, which completely altered in just a few months.

This was the general conclusion at the world's largest e-commerce show and its accompanying logistics, Deliver 2021, which was held last week in the Dutch city of Amsterdam.

Customer expectations have grown

The coronavirus crisis which has turned the world on its head over the last year and a half has completely flipped global society and the economy upside down as well. While it has brought to problems to the doors of some from which could take years to recover from, to others it has brought double-digit growth and changes and modernisation that would otherwise require several years to occur. The e-commerce sector and related logistics services are just one of those sectors that has grown by more than 100 percent on the wings of the problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

How we can deal with such unexpected and rapid growth, adapt to new social and economic circumstances, and especially meet the changed and increased expectations of customers in terms of quality and security of delivery, prices and especially deadlines, was the central theme of Deliver.

The fair had been takin place in a digital edition from October the 4th to the 15th, and culminated in its classic form late last week in Amsterdam. Amazon, Alibaba, Microsoft, Nike, Unilever, Samsung, Ikea, DPD, GLS, DHL, Overseas and the largest European post offices were just some of about 1,000 companies that found themselves involved with Deliver.

Along with many other great giants of this sector, the small Croatian Modepack company, which in recent years has grown into one of the global players in the production of delivery and safety packaging, was also present. The Croatian Modepack company's products are purchased by customers in 32 countries around the world.

Jure Siric, the director and owner of Modepack, which exports 92 percent of its sales, pointed out that this is their first appearance at the Deliver fair, and their impressions and expectations are optimistic. "Over recent years, we've achieved great growth, especially in terms of exports, and last year we recognizsd the need to be present at events like this.

Unfortunately, last year, COVID-19 stopped all activities and this fair was also postponed, so now we definitely wanted to perform. The registration fee is quite high for Croatian wallets, but if you want to be in the company of the big names, then you have to invest,'' Siric stated while in Amsterdam.

He added that although he has the impression that the fair will bring them a lot in terms of new contracts and revenue growth, it's difficult to quantify for now. "According to the programme, we had about 20 official and pre-arranged B2B meetings, kind of like dates, where we were limited to 25 minutes per conversation. Significantly, we asked for a meeting with half of the companies, and half of them then chose us.

The conversations were interesting, some of them detailed, but of course in such places contracts aren't signed, only information is collected. We expect that in the coming period, after the evaluation of data in specific companies, there will be concrete offers and talks about contracts,'' explained Siric, whose team in Amsterdam included the Croatian Modepack company's head of marketing and web sales, Nemanja Suka.

The duo from Modepack pointed out that there were no big surprises for them in terms of the focus of experts and entrepreneurs at Deliver's event, nor were there any shocks in terms of the topics of conversation with potential partners because the trends and challenges are similar for all participants working within the e-commerce and delivery chain.

The COVID-19 pandemic, and the closures and lockdowns that followed in many countries, including the one last spring in Croatia, had a major impact on changing consumer habits, and thus on the entire supply chain.

In addition to the enormous growth in the volume of e-commerce, a lot of emphasis has been placed on security, ie the fear of being infected by the virus and the sheer speed of its spread, meaning that many customers had been looking for delivery on the same day. Although this model existed in some form even before the pandemic, Last Mile Delivery, ie the fast delivery of smaller quantities of goods and at a shorter distance within a time frame measured in just hours, became an entire e-commerce sector with its own rules and principles.

As Mick Jone, Zancargo’s strategic supply chain consultant, pointed out in Amsterdam, after more than a year of growth that was accelerated by COVID-19, e-commerce itself is evolving rapidly.

“At a time when consumer expectations, habits and priorities have changed, there's a stronger argument for supply chain redesign than ever before. Because of all this, it is very important to make a decision on how to adapt the incoming logistics to service users in this new, hypercompetitive retail environment,'' explained Jone.

Jennifer Nelen, a partner at the Dutch subsidiary of consulting firm PwC, stressed that our new world, now more than ever, requires collaboration within the retail, e-commerce and logistics industries to successfully respond to market shifts and disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Statistics say that in Europe alone, the number of customers in the e-commerce channel increased by an incredible 15 million last year, and the growth trend at a rate between 15 and 20 percent is expected to continue in the coming period. In concrete figures, this means that last year the e-commerce segment generated 8.3 billion euros more than the year before.

It is expected that by 2025, this segment should generate growth of 15.7 billion euros more than last year. It is still a significant problem that most customers, especially those over the age of 55, even if they have the basic IT skills to do e-commerce, still insist on “feeling and seeing'' the product before buying it. The coronavirus pandemic has partially reduced this trend, but it's still present.

The British giant Tesco presented its experiences with large European retail chains at Deliver, and its representatives pointed out that the opening of physical stores has greatly reduced their demand in the e-commerce channel because the same customers have adapted to the situation in accordance with the United Kingdom's epidemiological regulations.

In addition to the above-mentioned customer requirements and the focus of the entire e-commerce system, there is an increasingly strong focus on ecology. This specifically means that recycled, or recyclable, packaging has become something that every retailer must offer today.

The Croatian Modepack company itself, which has Amazon, H&M, Vans, Adidas, DHL, DPD, Loomis, numerous European financial institutions as well as the diamond exchange in Antwerp (Antwerpen World Diamond Center) and a number of others in its customer portfolio, is also very much on the wings of e-volume growth. Its stores recorded a steady increase in revenue, which amounted to 50 million kuna last year, which is a growth of 60 percent compared to the year before when they grew by 30 percent.

For this year, they expect an additional growth of 20 percent and revenue of about 60 million kuna. Therefore, they decided to invest 50 million kuna in their new plant in Velika Gorica near Zagreb, which should be completed in the middle of next year, and which will allow them to double their capacity, which currently stands at around 200 million pieces of various packaging.

With the new plant and the expansion of the range, they expect that in 2025, their revenue should reach 150 million kuna, with a tendency for further growth.

"Global e-commerce is growing unstoppably, and even before the pandemic, back in 2019, global growth was 21 percent. Data for last year shows that countries with more developed e-commerce systems achieved significant, but still lower growth, while others, like Croatia, measured growth in the hundreds of percent.

The statistics we have show that e-commerce at the EU level increased by 31 percent last year, and if we look at some of the most important countries then we see that in Germany it is 22 percent, in the United Kingdom 31 percent, and in Spain 75 percent. Estimates for Croatia are over 200 percent,'' stated Jure Siric.

For more, check out our business section.

Friday, 15 October 2021

Over 28,000 Businesses Operated in Croatia's Wholesale and Retail Sector in 2020

ZAGREB, 15 Oct 2021 - A total of 28,615 businesses operating in Croatia's wholesale and retail sector in 2020, employing 192,367 workers and earning HRK 260.2 billion in total revenues, according to an analysis by the Financial Agency (Fina) for the years 2004, 2009, 2014 and 2020. 

By comparison, there were 27,044 wholesale and retail operators in 2004, 27,262 in 2009, and 26,260 in 2014.

The number of workers in this sector was 5.2% higher in 2020 than in 2004. The largest number was recorded in 2009 (198,988) and the lowest in 2014 (178,645).

The highest total revenues were generated in 2020, of HRK 260.2 billion, which was an increase of HRK 82.6 billion compared with 2004.

In 2020, the highest total revenue was reported by Konzum Plus (HRK 10 billion), followed by Lidl Croatia (HRK 6.1 bn), Spar Croatia (HRK 5 bn), and Plodine (HRK 4.5 bn).

The highest total profit was also generated in 2020, of HRK 10.2 billion, and was two and a half times higher than in 2004. The best earner was Lidl Croatia, with a profit of HRK 274.8 million.

The highest total loss was recorded in 2009, amounting to HRK 4.3 billion, which was 60.9% higher than in 2020 when it totaled HRK 2.6 billion.

The consolidated net result for last year was HRK 7.5 billion, compared with HRK 1.86 billion in 2004, HRK 1.44 billion in 2009, and HRK 2.3 billion in 2014.

The largest fixed capital investments were made in 2004, of HRK 8.9 billion, while in 2020 they totaled HRK 2.4 billion, which is 72.9% less than in 2004.

The largest trade deficit was reported in 2020, of HRK 37.4 billion, compared with HRK 25.6 billion in 2014, HRK 36.7 billion in 2009, and HRK 36.3 billion in 2004.

Last year, the biggest importers were Lidl Croatia (HRK 2.3 billion) and Medika (HRK 2.1 billion).

In 2020, the average net monthly salary in this sector was HRK 5,816, up by 84.3% compared with 2004 when it was HRK 3,157. It was 2.6% lower than the average wage in the enterprise sector, which amounted to HRK 5,971.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Friday, 15 October 2021

Medjimurje County Enterprises Earn 864.2 Million Kuna in 2020

October the 15th, 2021 - Medjimurje County enterprises earned a fantastic net profit in 2020, despite the utterly dire economic circumstances which engulfed the entire world as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Medjimurje County enterprises did excellently during the very challenging year of 2020, making a net profit of 864.2 million kuna, which is an increase of 25.8 percent when compared to pre-pandemic 2019, according to an analysis made by Fina.

In pandemic-dominated 2020, Medjimurje County had of 3,547 enterprises registered there, with 28,768 employees, which is an increase of 467 or 1.7 percent when compared to the previous year. Last year, Medjimurje County enterprises generated total revenues in the amount of 16.2 billion kuna, which is an increase of 0.6 percent when compared to 2019, and their total expenditures fell by 0.5 percent, down to 15.2 billion kuna.

The profit for the period of 1 billion kuna represented a significant increase of 19.7 percent compared to the previous year, while their loss for the same period fell by 5 percent, to 161.7 million kuna. As such, the consolidated financial result is a net profit of 864.2 million kuna in total for Medjimurje County enterprises.

Gross investments in new fixed assets alone increased by 8.3 percent and amounted to 481.5 million kuna, Back in 2020, the exports generated by companies headquartered in Medjimurje County increased by 23 percent, up to 2.6 billion kuna, and the trade surplus amounted to 1.3 billion kuna, marking a more than considerable increase of 66.1 percent.

The average monthly net salary of those working for Medjimurje County enterprises last year amounted to 5,264 kuna, which is 3.3 percent more in terms of take home pay than back in 2019 and 11.8 percent less than the average at the level of employees of such enterprises in the Republic of Croatia, which stood at 5,971 kuna in 2020. The leader in terms of revenue of all companies with their seats registered in this continental Croatian county is Mesna industrija Vajda with 568.5 million kuna.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Wednesday, 13 October 2021

Eko Medjimurje Takes Over Hittner Majority Stake, Investment Cycle Coming

October the 13th, 2021 - Eko Medjimurje is a Croatian processing company and is one of the leading companies of its type in this part of Europe. It has been making significant business moves of late, one of which has caught quite a bit of attention.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Eko Medjimurje, the leading metal processing company in this part of Europe, recently completed the process of taking over a majority stake in the Bjelovar-based Hittner family company which deals with tractor production, according to a statement issued on Monday. The statement did not specify the value of this transaction.

The Hittner family will remain as the long-standing company's co-owners as minority stakeholders and is launching a new development cycle with their new partner, the two companies said in a joint statement.

For the last thirty years, Eko Medjimurje has been producing parts for a wide range of machines such as cabins, tanks, consoles and finally assembled machines for large international companies, including the likes of Liebherr, Komatsu, Caterpillar, Wirtgen and Rubble Master.

The company was founded back in 1990, is headquartered in Senkovec near Cakovec close to the Hungarian border, and currently employs 420 employees with a handsome annual income of 250 million kuna.

For some time now, with the constant expansion of business and organic growth, it has been looking for a partner with whom it will achieve synergy and growth in new market segments.

Hittner is otherwise a family-owned company for the production of forestry and agricultural articulated tractors, agricultural machinery and spare parts and gears, which has turned from a craft workshop into a highly successful private company with 90 employees since 1987.

Hittner plans to excel even further over the next five years with significant investments in production processes, the development of new product types and even more employment, the statement said.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Wednesday, 13 October 2021

As Pandemic Ruffled Feathers, Croatian Exporters Remained Strong

October the 13th, 2021 - The ongoing coronavirus pandemic may well have ruffled feathers and shuffled the cards in a way nobody could have ever expected, but Croatian exporters have remained among the most resilient of all.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Brnic writes, Croatian exporters, when the line was drawn, were not only resilient but also lively and quick in the unprecedented conditions of the coronavirus pandemic. Many new "players" entered this scene, but in some sectors, especially in tourism and the oil business, the blow was severe and left a visible mark on the list of the 100 largest Croatian exporters.

In fact, it is only now that the criteria for what is considered export revenue have been questioned, which has been set in recent years since the First Gas Company (PPD) broke through to the very top of that scale. According to the criteria of Dun & Bradstreet, these are revenues from sales made abroad, and according to them, this time on the annual list of the largest Croatian exporters, the national oil company INA slipped down to second place for the first time. The leadership was taken over by PPD, which will say for itself that it is not a classic exporter.

"Although it's very nice to be on the list of the largest Croatian exporters, in previous years we've repeatedly explained that in our case it isn't about exports but about the income generated from trade abroad, on the single market," they pointed out from PPD. They noted the fact that the Republic of Croatia doesn't have enough of its own gas even for its own needs, so PPD cannot "export" it abroad. And as the European Union's single market is liberalised and open to all participants, every Croatian company can trade in the countries of the European Union and try to make money on this large market.

''PPD's experts have the necessary knowledge and experience, they know the markets well, they have access to gas exchanges and financial instruments for trading and hedging. All this allows us to successfully compete with other participants in the common EU market, and we perform our operations from our offices in Vukovar, Zagreb, Budapest and Lugano with young, local experts who are ready to learn and adapt to dynamic EU markets. We also employ European experts in our companies abroad. The combination of these experiences and knowledge that we manage from Zagreb and Vukovar has so far proved to be very good,'' said Pavao Vujnovac, President of the Board of PPD.

Crucial to revenue growth last year was the fact that the coronavirus pandemic didn't reduce gas consumption, on the contrary, a large number of consumers used gas because prices across the global market in 2020 were at historically low levels. "In such conditions, we've successfully positioned ourselves in the wholesale markets in the region and increased our sales," said Vujnovac.

This year, on the other hand, is completely opposite to last year, with record high gas prices, which wasn't at all expected, but as the first man of PPD added, his business is managing without disturbances even in these totally opposite conditions. Revenues this year will be significantly higher than they were last year as a result of extremely high gas prices on the global market, but also owing to a further increase in sales. This also indicates that it will be a big challenge for INA to skip PPD on Dun & Bradstreet's scale.

INA's export results over the last two years have been largely monitored through the prism of crude oil exports to neighbouring Hungary, where INA's refining has largely shifted after the closure of its Sisak refinery. Howevever, like everyone else in the oil business, they will say that last year was generally "extremely challenging" for them. Unlike gas, demand for their goods and services in some periods in 2020 fell by 30 to 50 percent compared to the same period in 2019, while, despite the partial recovery of the oil market in the second half of 2020, oil and gas prices were (on average) lower by more than 30 percent in comparison to the previous year.

INA's export business was also marked by reduced demand, with an annual decline of 37 percent. Over the last five years, this is the lowest export result of the largest Croatian company. Although the first half of this year was marked by somewhat more favourable circumstances, and demand in key markets rose almost to pre-crisis levels, INA CEO Sándor Fasimon cautiously says that economic recovery is still uncertain, and that it is clear that the market situation won't return to pre-pandemic levels for some time yet.

"The fact is that the coronavirus pandemic still isn't over and it's difficult to predict future trends, so we can't just sit back and relax now, especially when the transformation processes related to climate change are taken into account. Accordingly, INA is continuously working on improving business efficiency. We're working on plans to expand in export markets, and with the construction of a plant for the treatment of heavy residues in the Rijeka refinery, which is a project worth four billion kuna, we'll have to strengthen our presence in export markets.

We monitor market and global changes and at the same time expand our value chain and create new opportunities. We're guided by clear strategic development guidelines in accordance with the updated integrated long-term strategy of the MOL Group's SHAPE TOMORROW 2030+ initiative and our goal is to operate in a sustainable way and successfully respond to the challenges posed by new energy sources, environmental issues and technological progress,'' said INA's Fasimon.

Only six companies generated revenues of more than one billion kuna last year, which is a significant decrease compared to the year before, when there were twice as many strong company names in those ranks. Below that limit, in a coronavirus-dominated environment, the largest Croatian hotel companies and the national airline Croatia Airlines, which was struggling long before the pandemic struck, as well as large companies from the energy sector and the automotive industry, have descended drastically.

Among hotel companies, the most affected are Porec's Valamar Riviera and Plava laguna.

In addition to the tourism sector, the public health crisis hit the automotive industry hard in 2020, meaning that one of the largest Croatian exporters coming from that industry, Ad Plastik from Solin, also left the "billionaires club" last year. The management of Ad Plastik is cautious in assessing whether this will be temporary or not, because, as their CEO says, the demand for cars is growing compared to the first part of last year, but it will take some time to reach pre-pandemic figures. According to estimates by the European Automobile Manufacturers Association ACEA, this year's overall car sales growth is expected to be 10 percent above last year's, but it will still be below pre-pandemic results.

This year, an additional "challenge" for car manufacturers is the lack of semiconductors, which slows down production. From the experience of Ad Plastik, the Russian market is recovering more quickly, where it is also present, and where the lack of semiconductors isn't yet being felt. The company's CEO is cautious in his assessments, but generally holds the view that a slight but sure shift towards market recovery is noticeable.

For more on Croatian exporters, make sure to follow our business section.

Sunday, 10 October 2021

New Rimac Campus Construction Project in Kerestinec Advancing

October the 10th, 2021 - Things are going full steam ahead at the construction site of the brand new Rimac Campus in Kerestinec, with works moving quickly and anticipations running high.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the village of Kerestinec, which lies just west of Zagreb, is the site of the up and coming new Rimac Campus which Croatian entrepreneur Mate Rimac decided on building not so long ago.

This massive project which will also become the new headquarters of the much loved Croatian company Rimac Automobili plans to have a kindergarten, organic food production, and even accommodation capsules instead of a classic hotel. It should all be over by 2023.

''The new complex will be a base for research, development and production, and will enable the company to grow from the production of prototypes and projects in small series to large-scale production of high-performance electric powertrains and battery systems for many global automotive companies.

The new location, based on the idea of ​​creating the best possible working environment for our employees from all over the world, is located just a few kilometres from the current headquarters of Rimac Automobili (also in Sveta Nedelja) and is located on a plot which spans 200,000 m2, while the area built on will reach about 100,000 m2.

The new Rimac Campus is expected to be completed by 2023,'' they stated from the company. They added that Mate Rimac wanted the new headquarters of his company to embody not only the character of the brand but also the character of the employees.

''The architects of this project drew their inspiration for the design of the new Rimac Campus from several sources, including the shape and movement of Rimac's own hypercar - the famous C_Two, as well as the speed itself,'' they described from Rimac Automobili.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated Made in Croatia section.

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